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Postsecondary Teaching & Learning
206 Burton Hall
178 Pillsbury Dr. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Voice: 612-626-8705


Robert Poch

Senior Fellow

Postsecondary Teaching & Learning
250C Burton Hall
178 Pillsbury Dr S E

Office hours:
By appointment.

Ph.D., Higher Education, University of Virginia

M.A., History, Virginia Tech

B.A., History, Virginia Tech

Combining my background in history and higher education public policy, my research focuses on the history of the early civil rights movement in the United States (with particular focus on the period 1930-1954) and how public policies were influenced and formulated to create greater access to educational opportunity.    My most recent research focuses on the development of legal strategies and the pedagogical approaches that prepared and enabled early civil rights attorneys to win landmark cases that eventually desegregated public schools.    

A primary goal of my research is to bring forward the stories and contributions of many civil rights advocates and leaders who remain largely unknown in U.S. history.  Further, I am working collaboratively with other colleagues in the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning to investigate how college and university faculty can “engage diversity” within classroom settings to develop cognitive and intra/interpersonal skills necessary for individual, community, and professional success and advancement.


Specific research foci that I am exploring are guided by the following goals: 

  • To examine historically and share the policy contributions and strategies of mostly unknown early civil rights leaders and communities who created through multi-disciplinary perspectives arguments for equal educational opportunity.
  • To understand how communities and organizations came together through principled and focused leadership to gather the information, resources, and learning tools necessary to make extraordinary advances in human rights including those in education.
  • To explore the classroom content, teaching methods and materials, student assignments and examinations, and out-of-class academic experiences that produced large numbers of informed, dedicated, and effective civil rights advocates.
  • To apply the historical lessons of the above to contemporary issues involving educational inequality and the policies that perpetuate such inequality.
  • To apply historical and policy research findings on the advancement of human rights to class discussions, assignments, and undergraduate research opportunities in American History and Citizenship and Democracy courses.

Selected Publications

  1. Poch, R. (2012).  "Shaping Freedom's Course: Charles Hamilton Houston, Howard University, and Legal Instruction on U.S. Civil Rights." American Educational History Journal, Vol. 39, No. 2. 

  2. Lee, A., Poch, R., Shaw, M., & Williams, R. (2012). Engaging Diversity in Undergraduate Classrooms. ASHE Higher Education Report Series Monograph. Jossey-Bass.

  3. Grier-Reed, T. & R. Poch. (2012). "The Origin of Charter Schools: A Brief History."  In A. Esmail, and A. Duhon-Ross Mcallum (Eds.), Charter Schools: Answering the Call; Saving Our Children.  Issues in Black Education Series, University Press of America.

  4. Arendale, D., and R. Poch. (2008). “Using Universal Instructional Design for Administrative Leadership, Planning, and Evaluation.”    In J.L. Higbee & G. Goff  (Eds.), Pedagogy and student services for institutional transformation: Implementing universal design in higher education.   Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, College of Education and Human Development.   

  5. Detzner, D., Poch, R., and Taylor, D. (2005). Foreward.  In J. L. Higbee, D. B. Lundell, & D. R. Arendale (Eds.), The General College vision: Integrating intellectual growth, multicultural perspectives, and student development, xv-xix. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, General College, Center for Research on Developmental Education and Urban Literacy.

  6. Bacig, K.Z., J.C. Hearn, and R. Poch. (Spring, 2002).  “Postsecondary Opportunity and Choice: Factors Influencing the Attendance Decisions of Minnesota Students.”  CURA Reporter

  7. Poch, R. (1993).  Academic Freedom in American Higher Education: Rights, Responsibilities, and Limitations, ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 4, Washington, D.C.: The George Washington University.

Selected Presentations

  1. "The Science of Justice: Thurgood Marshall, Kenneth B. Clark and the Strategic Partnership to Achieve Educational Desegregation." Organization of Educational Historians, Annual Concerence, Chicago, Illinois, October 2013.

  2. "Intercepting Justice: The Historical Use of Interposition and Nullification in Blocking Educational Desegregation." Organization of Educational Historians, Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois, October 2012.

  3. "Howard University and the First Law Course on U.S. Civil Rights."  Organization of Educational Historians, Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois, October 2011.

  4. “Breaking through ‘The Luminous Darkness:’ Howard Thurman and the Call for Educational Desegregation.”  Organization of Educational Historians, Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois, September 2010.

  5. “A Laboratory for Equality: Charles Hamilton Houston and the Role of Howard University Law School in Killing Legalized Segregation.”  Association for the Study of Higher Education, Annual Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia, November 2009.

  6. “Changes in the Role of Governors in State Higher Education: Structural Changes Alone or Something More?”  Association for the Study of Higher Education, Annual Conference, Jacksonville, Florida, November 2008.

  7. "Political Movement in Higher Education: The Role of Student Activism." Minnesota College Personnel Association, Fall Conference, William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota, October 2008.

  8. “An Examination of Historical Antecedents of American Colleges through the Conceptual Framework of Cultural Translation and Transformation,” Midwest History of Education Society, Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, October 2008.

| Postsecondary Teaching & Learning| 206 Burton Hall | 178 Pillsbury Dr. SE | Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA | Tel: 612-626-8705 | Fax: 612-625-0709

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Last modified on 11/8/2011